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Law for Emotion - Mental Health Liaison Officers - Visual Neglect

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 02 June 2009

Claudia Hammond speaks to the UK's first Mental Health Liaison Officer to see how he can help those with mental health problems have better experiences when dealing with police.

  • Does the Law account for emotion?

    We know that passion drives many a crime. How many of us really know what we might do on the spur of the moment if we were pushed? Whatever the emotion, the law still intervenes. This is not the case in sport, however. Rugby players have been found guilty of eye gouging and we have seen all sorts of violence in football. So when should the law excuse these cases on the grounds of emotions and is sport a special case? Historically, the law has been adapted to account for difficult decisions, such as creating the plea of infanticide for women who have killed their infant children. In the early 1900s, this plea was created to save women from the death sentence, which judges were finding difficult to pass down. Dr Jack Anderson and Dr Karen Brennan, lecturers in Law at Queen's University Belfast, discuss.

  • Mental Health Liaison Officers

    People with mental health problems are more likely to be victims of crime than to commit crime themselves, and some are deliberately singled out for persecution. There are even cases where people have had their homes taken over by drug dealers. Some do not ask for police help as they are nervous about the reception they might get. But there are a few police officers whose sole job it is to liaise with people with mental health problems to make sure they have equal access to justice. Is this a job that should be rolled out across the country? Richard Harwin, the mental health liaison officer based in Hackney in London tells, discusses how he ended up with the job.

  • Visual Neglect

    Imagine you are standing on the pavement of a busy main road and are aware of the cars coming from the right, but even though you can physically see the cars on the left, unbeknown to you your brain does not register them. This is called 'visual neglect', and can happen after a stroke. For some, the symptoms disappear after a few weeks, but for others the condition can be disabling. New research suggests that because of the way the brain works, music might make all the difference. One of the authors of the research, Dr Glyn Humphreys, a psychologist at the University of Birmingham, demonstrates to reporter Anna Lacey exactly what visual neglect is.



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